The 2019-20 season came to an end for the men’s basketball team last week, as the Badgers fell to the McMaster Marauders by a score of 83-71. The Badgers entered the OUA playoffs as the nine seed, while the eight-seeded Marauders received home court advantage due to the head-to-head tiebreaker — McMaster beat Brock in both regular season match ups.
The Badgers were right there with McMaster for three quarters of play, but a sloppy second quarter that saw Mac outscore Brock 17-9 ultimately sealed the win. Godsman Kwakwah scored a game-high 25 points, including 5-7 shooting from three, while Daniel Cayer and Daniel Caldwell each tacked on 16 apiece. Tyler Brown, who played his final game as a Badger, finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Aside from those four players, the Badgers got just four points from the rest of the team.
The Marauders advanced to play the No. 1 team in the country, the Carleton Ravens, in the quarterfinals and were appropriately smacked by 44 points by the defending champs. The Final Four is now set between Carleton and Ottawa on one side and Western and Laurier on the other.
For Willy Manigat, who just completed his rookie season as a head coach in the OUA, his program looks to be on the right track moving forward, assuming the next couple recruiting classes are good ones. Manigat, who came from Carleton, is a very smart coach who has a way of connecting with players.
The loss of Brown will be huge — he has manned the starting point guard position for the past five years and ran the Badger offence along the way. Brown finishes his career at Brock as the programs’ all-time leader in assists (463), steals (108), games played (108) and games started (100). He is also the fifth-highest scorer in Badger history with 1122 points.
The gaping hole left by Brown at the most important position on the floor is all the more reason why recruiting will be so key for the future of the program. While finding a replacement for Brown is a big priority, the Badgers also lacked size this season, specifically on the inside.
Daniel Cayer was the only big who played significant minutes this season, yet at 6’6, Cayer is still often undersized against most opposing centres. The size difference isn’t as big of a problem as it could be with Cayer; he is an incredibly smart defender who can play up when needed. The issue is when Cayer gets into foul trouble — which is bound to happen when he’s guarding 6’8+ guys down low for over 30 minutes — and you have no other options. Ideally you’d find a guy who can slot in at centre and move Cayer down to the four, his natural position.
Recruitment for the 2020-21 season is already well underway, it should only be a matter of weeks until some announcements are made.